How to: Basic Google Search

Basic Google Search

Basic Google Search

Almost everyone uses Google to search the Internet; but not everyone really knows how to take advantage of some of Google’s basic search capabilities.  Knowing how to use Google’s basic search capabilities can narrow down your seach quickly from several hundred millions down to a few thousands relevant results.

Open your web browser to google.com.  This should open up to google’s simple, yet effective home page–the search page.  At this point, you can search the WEB, look for IMAGES, find some VIDEOS, or search for NEWS.  Most of the time, the default–WEB–will suffice.  Regardless, click the type of seach you wish to do.

In the search field, you can type relevant words that simply describe what you are looking for.  Say for example you are looking for an article on basket weaving.  If you simply type the words “basket” and “weaving” in the seach field, Google will come back with 1,150,000 results.  This is because google will look for articles that contain “basket weaving”, “basket”, or “weaving”.  Now, do you have time to look over that many articles?  Probably not.

To narrow down your results to more relevant searches, you can begin by using the “+” operator.  You can enter “+basket” and “+weaving”.  This will force Google to only return articles with both “basket” and “weaving”.  This approach narrows down the search to 704,000.  Better than the original 1,150,000 results earlier, but still too many.

To further narrow down the search, you can enclose your search criteria with quotes–i.e. use “basket weaving” including the quotes.  This forces Google to only return articles with the term “basket weaving”.  This narrows down the search to 370,000.  This is a significant improvement to the original result of 1,150,000.

Several hundred thousand articles are still too much to search through.  Think about what is unique about your search.  Say for example that you are only interested in nylon basket weaving techniques.  You can update your search to use ‘+nylon +”basket weaving”‘. This asks Google to find web articles that have the terms “nylon” and “basket weaving”.  This narrows down the search to 3,190!  This is definitely orders of magnitude less than the original 1,150,000 search result.  Most people will probably continue to get results of this magnitude; however, you now know basic Google search capabilities and should be able to limit search results to a few relevant thousands.


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